A DONEGAL lorry driver
has been jailed for 16 years after he attempted to
smuggle £2.5 million worth of heroin and cannabis
into Britain hidden in fresh flowers.
Thompson Derek Spence, aged 43 from St Johnston, was
intercepted by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) officers
on Thursday, May 29, 2008, at Harwich International
Port. He was driving a large articulated lorry and
had arrived on the early morning ferry from Holland.
The cab unit and trailer of the vehicle were
searched and in one of the pallet lockers, officers
found a cardboard box marked “fresh cut flowers”.
Instead of fresh flowers they discovered a number of
heat sealed bags containing what appeared to be a
herbal substance. A field test produced a positive
reaction to cannabis.
When the other pallet locker of the trailer was
examined a second cardboard flower box was found
which contained a quantity of heat sealed plastic
bags containing brown tape wrapped packages. A field
test on these packages showed a positive reaction to
In total, 43kg of heroin and 25kg of herbal cannabis
was recovered. The drugs had a combined estimated
street value of £2.5 million.
John Kay, assistant director of criminal
Investigation for HMRC said: "The sentence handed
down by the court will act as a deterrent to those
involved in drug trafficking and clearly shows that
crime doesn't pay."
Spence was found guilty by Ipswich Crown Court on 28
September after an eleven day trial. He was
sentenced to 16 years on the heroin charges and
three years concurrently on the cannabis charges.